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  1. Florida Politics

Transit activist files for District 6 Hillsborough commission seat

Published Apr. 7, 2015

TAMPA — Brian Willis, an attorney and local transit activist, filed Monday to run for the Hillsborough County Commission's District 6 seat in 2016.

Willis, a Democrat, will vie for the seat being vacated by Commissioner Kevin Beckner, who will reach his term limit.

The 31-year-old Tampa resident is the co-founder of Connect Tampa Bay, a group that advocates for improved transportation options throughout the region. He also serves as vice chair of the citizens advisory committee for Hillsborough's Metropolitan Planning Organization.

At the top of his priority list is a better transit system and safer streets, according to a video posted on his campaign website Monday. But he also wants to put the county "checkbook" online and create an app that will streamline pothole fixes.

"Somebody who understands what's going on in the city but also what's going on in the county is important for county leadership," Willis told the Tampa Bay Times. "What I'm looking to do is to focus on making great neighborhoods across the county and really work on quality-of-life issues."

Willis grew up in Carrollwood and graduated from Tampa Bay Technical High School. His campaign biography says he earned a degree in economics from Florida State University and later a law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

While he says he has worked on Democratic campaigns in the past, this is Willis' first campaign for office.

"This whole campaign," Willis said, "and the reason to get out so early is to get out and listen to folks."

Contact Steve Contorno at scontorno@tampabay.com or @scontorno.

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